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The Strategic Importance of Marketing for Startups

Points in focus

  • Having an effective marketing strategy is the quickest way for startups to scale
  • Marketing enables startups to establish presence where it matters
  • It facilitates customer stickiness and creates an opportunity to enter new markets
  • Getting featured in relevant editorials and actively participating in and networking with business decision makers are the most effective marketing tools

Vinod Singh
Managing Director
StrategINK

Transforming an idea into a business is just the beginning of the start-up journey. The next phase should be focused on expanding the business. An effective marketing strategy can contribute significantly to business expansion, once you develop the proof of concept. Marketing strategy can assist in making business decisions and accomplishing business goals. Often when rushing to scale up, start-ups fail to prioritize marketing which can be detrimental in the long run.

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Marketing matters because it

  • Drives customer stickiness: 20% of existing customers can bring in 80% of the future profits
  • Builds trust to influence buyer decisions: For 81% of consumers, trust drives purchase decisions
  • Facilitates revenue generation: 75% of marketers report that marketing directly influences revenue

At times, start-ups tend to underestimate the power of marketing, and often due to limited resources and a myopic focus on just selling. Research shows that 49.7% SMBs spend less than 2 hours/week on marketing. However, effective marketing has the potential to act as a guide for the sales team and help understand customers better. No matter what products or services you are offering, you can take advantage of marketing to make your business thrive.

Top 5 benefits of marketing for ISVs and Startups

There are many reasons for good marketing practices to help a business succeed. Investing time and energy in marketing campaigns can help reap the following benefits for any ISV/ startup.

Establish brand identity
Establishing brand identity is a way to make the brand unique and set it apart from competitors. Marketing can put the brand in front of customers’ minds leading to recognition and familiarity. It leads to what is being called brand recall. For instance, if you think of a search engine, Google is the first thing that comes to your mind. Effective marketing can help achieve that. Furthermore, it can augment sales as buying decisions are influenced by how much the customer connects with a brand.

Customer acquisition and retention
Without the correct marketing plan in place, however good or industry-transforming your product or service is, it will fail to reach the target audience. Making potential customers know about a new business can be one of the biggest challenges a start-up can face. Research shows that customer acquisition cost (CAC) has increased by nearly 50% from 2015-to 2020. Fortunately, marketing can make customer acquisition a little easier.

An effective go to market strategy can help you inform and educate customers about the services offered and how these services can benefit them. Focusing on engaging and educating existing customers can increase the chances of customers making repeat purchases. It can also drive customers to purchase more frequently and spend more. This improves the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) which leads to long-term growth and profit. Customer retention is a better option as 20% of existing customers can bring in 80% of the future profits.

Demonstrates credibility
Lack of trust can hurt the sales of a business. With the right marketing strategy, an organization can build a pleasant image of their business and earn consumers’ trust. Having the trust of consumers can give an organization a competitive advantage. Putting in the efforts in building a brand identity portrays that you are here to stay for a long period. Customers perceive the business as credible and not one that may close shop overnight. As per for 81% of the surveyed consumers trust drives purchase decisions.

Enter new markets
Entering new markets helps businesses grow by reaching out to a large number of potential new customers. Furthermore, it helps reduce business risk by diversification. Though it sounds lucrative, entering a new, unexplored market can be quite challenging. Marketing campaigns can help introduce a brand to a new market before launch. This can help forge a connection with the potential customers and gain their trust in the brand. The marketing process can help startups learn more about the marketplace they are operating making it easier to identify new opportunities. A marketing plan can help establish achievable business goals and act as a road map to accomplish those goals.

Reach potential investors & growth partners
The number of investors in the fiercely competitive funding environment is limited. Similar to attracting new customers, an outstanding market strategy is needed to attract potential investors and help fundraising efforts. Without marketing, there is a very low chance of investors learning of a new entrant in the market. Also, without a proven customer acquisition strategy in place, potential investors will be less motivated in investing in a business.

How can ISVs and startups maximize the impact of marketing?

Increasing competition, and changing customer buying behavior can make it difficult for ISVs /startups to reach and engage with the right decision-makers and close deals. Organizations need to leverage the right tools and strategies to get the most out of their marketing initiatives. The focus needs to be on making use of digital technology to market products and services and to build long-term customer relationships.

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How to get marketing right as a startup?

  • Participate in panels and roundtables as a speaker/ expert
  • Attend domain specific events as a delegate to network
  • Get presence via virtual/ stalls in curated events
  • Get featured in exclusive editorials highlighting your journey and solution
  • Start your own blog and amplify your social media presence
  • Strive for exclusive reviews and solution mentions by industry experts

Establish presence where the audience is
As a startup/ ISV in its growth stage, you need to establish or be present where your audience and key stakeholders are. The best place to get all stakeholders under one roof is to participate in conferences and events. You may want to start by participating as a delegate to get an idea. However, gradually, you should explore opportunities to be a speaker with some eminent panelists, put up virtual/ physical stalls, etc. Events and conferences are a great marketing tool as they help you showcase your product/ ideas to a large audience all at once.

However, you need to be mindful of creating a presence where it is relevant. For instance, if you have a FinTech solution, showcasing your product in a healthcare event will not reap benefits. The major objective is to ensure that you are able to talk about your solution to a critical mass that cares and can be potential customers, partners or investors.

Getting featured in leading technology blogs and newsletters
Marketing is not only about speaking at events and conferences, because that becomes unsustainable at scale. However, thanks to the digital age, you can establish a thriving presence by contributing to digital assets, including research papers, technology blogs, newsletters, etc. Research shows millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites. Thus, making these a great marketing platform.

Being featured in the blogs and newsletters of leading business and technology platforms such as CXO digital pulse can go a long way in building credibility. 46% of consumers are ready to pay more to purchase from brands they trust. You could focus on getting featured as a startup in focus, or in some editorial talking about the industry you operate in, or better yet in a neutral asset reviewing your product for the audience at large.

As a startup activation catalyst, StrategINK can help you achieve this and more with its thriving presence among OEM, tech/business decision makers, industry experts and tech consumers. Focused on building an ecosystem to help you take your startup to the next stage, StrategINK can enable you to get featured where it matters, understand and reach your target market effectively and get mentorship, connections and guidance from industry leaders and experts. Stay tuned to know more and accelerate your growth journey!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this feature article are of the author. This is not meant to be an advisory to purchase or invest in products, services or solutions of a particular type or, those promoted and sold by a particular company, their legal subsidiary in India or their channel partners. No warranty or any other liability is either expressed or implied.
Reproduction or Copying in part or whole is not permitted unless approved by author.

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